As we near the end of January, I look back on what a crazy month this has been. After seven long and stressful months apart, I was finally reunited with my husband. The days leading up to our reunion were some of the most stressful moments I have ever experienced. Not knowing when our beautiful baby boy would make his appearance into the world, I was panicking I’d go into labor while Zach was en route to the states. Without anyway of getting a hold of him, he could have possibly had a son and not known until hours or days later. Prior to him leaving Afghanistan, I was looking for ways to naturally induce labor so that he could at least be present via Skype. From the day he left, I was looking for ways to prevent going into labor… I think my doctor thought I was bipolar but hey, the Army does that to you sometimes.
All I wanted was that Hollywoodesque airport moment. Everyone knows what I’m talking about; where the antsy wife tackles her handsome soldier at the gate after months and months apart. The crowd watching erupts into applause and tears as they watch the emotional reunion of two people more in love than ever. Well there were no tears or applause but the moment was absolutely perfect. I thought I was going to go into labor or throw up the entire way there, and the minutes until he got off the plane seemed to pass slower than ever. But finally, after only seeing his face with a computer screen between us for exactly seven months to the day, I saw him walking up the ramp and back into my life. I tried to wait until he was out of the way but couldn’t contain my emotions when he opened the door to the gate. I ran to him and buried my face in his chest; tears were flowing for no apparent reason other than in that moment I realized I had missed him more than I knew I could have ever missed anyone or anything. He was home, and my heart was whole again.
The doctor had agreed to induce me as soon as I hit 39 weeks to ensure that baby and daddy had time together before he had to return to the sandbox. I was so calm and collected that morning because I knew that Zach would be there holding my hand the whole time. In the military, having your husband home for a delivery is extremely rare. I was so blessed to have Zach by my side and I cannot imagine going through what I did without him. Seeing Zach hold our son, Nolan, has never brought so much joy to my eyes. He was so natural, so loving, and so thrilled to be a dad that it was just one more reminder that I am married to the most amazing man anyone could ever ask for.
As any Army wife will tell you, the two weeks alloted for R&R go so fast yet so slow all at the same time. I didn’t think the goodbye this time would be as hard as it was. I figured the baby would distract me, that with deployment nearing the end that it’d be a piece of cake. Well, I can tell you that it was the furthest thing from a piece of cake imaginable. I had gotten used to have my heart whole again, having our family complete and the comfort of my husband at my side and now I had to say goodbye, again. Nolan and I went to the gate and waited for the boarding call, and dreaded the last hug and kiss for weeks to come. We said our goodbyes, tears running down my face as I watched him kiss our baby boy gently on the forehead and whisper “I love you” into his ear. I said my own goodbye to him, again, burying my head in his chest and never wanting to let go of him. But I had to; I had to pull myself together and dig deep to find the strong Army wife I had become the past few months. I glanced back as he disappeared down the ramp, and began counting down until our next reunion.
It hasn’t been easy. With him gone, not only am I struggling with missing my other half, but I have a newborn baby who needs constant care and attention. As mentally and physically exhausting as it’s been, I am so thankful I have this little person, a piece of my husband, to keep me busy until he returns home. I didn’t think being a mom would come so naturally to me, but I can truly say I’ve taken to it like a fish in water. If I’ve made it seven months without my husband at my side, there is no question I can make it the next few weeks until he’s home, for good. I truly have been tested in my strength and ability to persevere through this tough time in my life, and although I may have days of weakness, I have no choice but to be strong in the end.
Here’s to hoping the next few weeks fly by and I can finally say hello to my husband and goodbye to deployment. We’re almost done!